JERUSALEM (Jun. 28)
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has released a 144-page report detailing what he considers to be the achievements of his first year in office.
The report was the culmination of a week-long public relations campaign to mark the first anniversary of the elections that brought the Labor Party to power.
The book, presented to President Ezer Weizman, boasts of the government’s achievements, noting that for the first time in years, unemployment in Israel is going down.
The report also applauds the government’s foreign policy and handling of the Middle East peace process.
The opposition has been furious over the anniversary effort, criticizing not only the government’s chutzpah to boast about its own successes — which the opposition disputes — but also the government’s use of public funds to print the glossy report.
Rafael Eitan, leader of the right-wing Tsomet party, even went so far as to ask the Central Elections Committee to intervene, charging that the pamphlet’s publication violated election laws.
But despite the protests, the celebrations went on undisturbed. On Sunday, Rabin hosted a party for 160 in the garden of his official residence, inviting ministers, Knesset members and senior officials.
The prime minister was in an exceptionally good mood, thanking guests for their contributions to the government’s achievements and apologizing for his comment, when he took office, that he would have the beginnings of a Palestinian autonomy plan in place within “six to nine months.”
Rabin said he had created too much hope prematurely by those remarks.
LIKUD PREPARES ITS OWN REPORT
After the speeches were over and there was little food left to serve, Rabin strolled over to President Weizman and handed him the report.
According to the pamphlet, Israel’s foreign policy has succeeded in four major areas: the multilateral peace talks, which will mold the shape of the region in the aftermath of a settlement; the signing of trade agreements with the European countries; the opening of eight new diplomatic missions in the former Soviet Union; and the implementation of massive reform in the foreign service.
The Likud party, for its part, has not sat idle during this week of government self-congratulation. To counter Rabin’s pamphlet, it has published its own 47-page report cataloguing the “disappointments” in the government’s first year.
Likud has stressed that all of the achievements the government has pointed to — such as major development of roads and junctions — were actually initiated by the Likud government before Rabin took power.
And not to be outdone by Rabin, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu went to see the president on Monday to present Weizman with his pamphlet, titled “A Year of Disappointments.”
Rabin did not take too kindly to Netanyahu’s move and tried to prevent Weizman for seeing Netanyahu, claiming it would be unstatesmanlike of the president.